First Impressions

Helicon Filter: Want new feature? Suggest it here

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Austin_Texas

First Impressions

Unread postby Austin_Texas » 23.02.2006 11:44

Well, I found this program a couple of days ago while looking for a de-noiser plug-in for the editor I use with my digital camera pictures. However, I found that this program does alot more than noise filtering, and many of my favorite retouching tool are better implemented in helicon than in my current editor. I'm seriously considering switching to Helicon as my main editor.

The things that are holding me back, however, are:

1.) It normally takes an unusually long time to get the picture loaded and ready to edit. I timed it. It took exactly 2 minuets to open the image and swich to the "Noise" tab, ready to adjust. That's a long time to stare at the screen. And the whole computer seems locked-up until the loading process is over. (The computer is fairly new: CPU is 2.2GHz with 2GB RAM...over 1GB still free while program is loading the picture. So, that's not the reason).
Though, a few times, the picture loaded right away. I have no idea what the difference could be from one time to the next.

2.) It is SOOOO confusing to know if I lost all my editing or not when switching between the tabs. Sometimes the previous filters show up in the new tab and sometimes they don't. Sometimes the split screen original is the true original and sometimes it's got some of the filters applied. I read that I need to go to the "save" tab before switching to a new tab to make the editing "stick", but it just doesn't seem very intuative to do this, and even when I do, I can go back to other tabs and don't see my recent editing in the picture.
The first time I went to the Save tab and saw the red progress bar moving, I thought it was saving my work to the hard drive (replacing the original!)
Also, I can open a fresh image and go to the Noise tab and the picture is brighter (comparing directly with the split screen original). I haven't even gone to the Brightness tab yet.??
I'm sure I'm just missing something here with how the tabs work, but it's definately not intuative.

3.) All the actions don't seem to have a universal "Undo" option. I would hate to tweek a picture for half an hour and then have to start over because I accidentally pressed that green arrow button at the top or screwed up the gama/contrast/highlights etc. and couldn't get it back to the way it was.

4.) The program has crashed several times in the past 2 days.


So, to sum up, I really like the results I get and I like the tools included with Helicon Filter, but the issues above are keeping me from swithing to it as my full-time editor for the time being. I will be eagerly trying out any upcoming versions, however, because I really want this program to work for me.

Your truly,
Michael

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Dan Kozub
Posts: 1157
Joined: 24.03.2004 18:14

Unread postby Dan Kozub » 23.02.2006 21:11

Michael,

Thanks for your review. Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to our promise to provide reviewers with the free one-year license for Helicon Filter Pro. So you can request the key right away.

1. Pause on load. I will look into it, though I have never seen it on our computers in the office. I would appreciate if you notice some logic in this behaviour. Normally the image is opened in a few seconds.

2. You are right here. We use unusual logic in our program which gives the user the possibilities to go back and forth with the filters. But this logic can be confusing, I agree. I have to think how to make it clearer.

3. Yes, Undo is on the top of our agenda for next versions.

We plan to release new 4.10 version in a few days.

I hope you will like it even better.

Best regards,

Danylo

Keithb
Posts: 5
Joined: 04.03.2006 00:56

Unread postby Keithb » 04.03.2006 01:02

I am using the program for the first time and have to say I am very happy with it, it's comparable to a lot of other more expensive programs.

However I also find it annoying to wait for files to load. Admittedly this is with images in Canon RAW (.cr2) format so as I'm pretty new to digital photography I don't know if this is what's to be expected (file sizes 6Mb or so) or if other people also have the same experience with large files.

Also, I have tried to work out how to stop a file (the last one opened previously) opening automatically when starting the program. Is there a way of doing that? If not, can this functionality be added?

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Dan Kozub
Posts: 1157
Joined: 24.03.2004 18:14

Unread postby Dan Kozub » 04.03.2006 09:58

Keith,

We use Canon SDK to convert RAW files so I suspect that all raw converters will take as much time.

It is not difficult to add such a flag, but I think I have a better idea:
the program will open automatically only jpeg files. So you will not have the problem with raw files any more. What do you think?

Danylo

Keithb
Posts: 5
Joined: 04.03.2006 00:56

Unread postby Keithb » 04.03.2006 10:30

Thanks Dan,

That would help, but I think it's better if it doesn't open files automatically at all, or if there's an option in the settings to turn automatic opening of the last file on or off. I don't know of any programs that automatically open the last file viewed, without there being an option not to do so.

The logic behind my suggestion is that the user might want to open some other file altogether. It would be reasonable to assume that the file that opens automatically (as happens now) would in most cases be one that's been finished and would therefore not be likely to need reopening. If it still needed work, the user could choose an option to leave the automatic opening active.

I guess it all comes down to the way different people work, but I think most people would not want a file opening that they don't want to work on.

As to the RAW images, I wasn't referring to processing; I know that can be time consuming, but I was referring to opening the file before any edit is carried out. This is happening also with JPEG files.

Cheers...Keith

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Dan Kozub
Posts: 1157
Joined: 24.03.2004 18:14

Unread postby Dan Kozub » 04.03.2006 10:41

Keith,

To open RAW file the raw converter (canon SDK) should internally process it. And this takes time. JPEG files should be opened without delay.

If you are experiencing the delays with JPEG files, I would be very interested to find the reason for such behaviour.

Ok, we will add a option not to open last file.

Danylo

Keithb
Posts: 5
Joined: 04.03.2006 00:56

Unread postby Keithb » 04.03.2006 11:02

Thanks Dan,

I was mistaken when I said the JPEG files are slow, they are loading instantly. The RAW images are ones saved in RAW format in the camera (a 350D). It will of course save in JPEG but I've been experimenting with RAW format to see what, if any, advantages it has.


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